A leading cosmetic doctor says he's seen a 20 per cent increase in 'mask lip' - chapped or infected lips caused by wearing prolonged wearing of a face covering - since the pandemic began.
Dr Tijion Esho, who runs two clinics in the UK and one in Dubai, claims he's experienced a significant rise in patients coming to his practices with a condition he describes as 'mask lip'.
The doctor, who performs aesthetic medicine and non-surgical procedures, told FEMAIL that not looking after your lips properly after wearing a mask for prolonged periods can cause severe chapping and even fungal infections.
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Dr Esho, who has clinics in London, Newcastle and Dubai, claims he's seen a 20 per cent rise in cases of what's been dubbed 'mask lip'
Cosmetic doctor says harsh materials, the winter chill and prolonged wearing are all a disaster for lips, sparking severe chapping and fungal infections
Advises using a lip balm, picking a softer fabric for your mask and hydrating
Dr Tijion Esho says wearing a mask is essential during the pandemic but can wreak havoc on sensitive lips
He said: 'Mask use is now mandatory and for good reason but unfortunately repeated use has led to an increased number of patients complaining of dry lips that practitioners are now calling "mask lip".
'I've seen a 20 per cent increase of patients seeking treatment for excessive dryness of lips at my clinics and the underline reason in a majority of cases has been due to mask use.
'Mask use is important there’s no getting away from that but how we wear our masks and how we take care of our lips can help prevent it becoming worse and developing complications such a fungal infections to the area.'
He said the added element of the winter weather had made the situation worse for many: 'Lips need extra care and hydration over winter as the harsh winds and low humidity strips moisture from the lip surface.'
HOW TO AVOID MASK LIP: DR ESHO'S TOP TIPS
Hydrating lips and using a lip balm can remedy mask lip, says Dr Esho (Pictured left, mask lip, right, after healing, hydration and moisturising)
USE A SOFTER MASK
Try avoid using harsh materials for masks. Light cottons and silks are gentle against the skin and lip surface and reduce friction to the lip.
Make sure you are hydrating, at least 2 litres plus daily of water. Excess mask use and increased humidity in the area around the mouth leads to increased losses of water from the lip surface, leaving lips more prone to becoming dry and cracked.
Dr Esho, pictured in his clinic, has appeared on Channel 4 series Body Fixers and says mask lip is a cosmetic pitfall of the pandemic
Drying of the lips from repeated mask use and friction from masks can lead to a build-up of dead, dry skin on the lip surface. Try mixing some honey together with some sugar and using a wet, soft toothbrush to gently brush off the dead skin. Apply coconut oil generously before bed to further hydrate.
LIP BALM WITH AN SPF
It’s important to choose a product that will not only treat dry skin, but also boost your lips hydration through all its layers.
Avoid using waxes that will just sit on the surface of the lip. Ensure to follow up with an SPF. We forget our lip surface is susceptible to damage from variable levels of UVA and UVB rays as well as environmental free radicals.